Former President and repeatedly accused rapist Bill Clinton is coming to Miami on Saturday, where he’ll help fundraise for incoming Congresswoman and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. who has a bunch of debt leftover from her campaign, according to the Miami Herald.
The news, however, is not simply that Clinton is coming to Miami. This sort of fundraiser happen all the time here. The news is that Clinton is coming to Miami four days after the Miami Herald published a stunning investigation into Clinton’s noted friend, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex criminal who is accused of raping or abusing at least 80 underage girls.
Epstein infamously operated a private airplane called the “Lolita Express,” which he allegedly used to assault underage girls. Clinton, along with Donald Trump, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and British Prince Andrew, were listed on the plane’s flight-logs. Epstein also owned a private island where he was accused of holding orgies and abusing girls. Epstein’s “little black book” included contacts for a smorgasbord of famous people (who have not been linked to his sex crimes), including ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Ted Kennedy, David Koch, scores of current and former politicians, and many others.
While the Epstein story has been public knowledge for years, the full, horrible extent of the case was not known until yesterday, when veteran Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown published an absolutely damning investigation into Epstein’s alleged crimes. Brown spent a full year reporting the story. She spoke to 80 women who said that Epstein raped or otherwise sexually abused them when they were minors, and that Epstein ran what was basically a “pyramid scheme,” in which girls were paid to recruit other underage girls to give him “massages.” One victim, Virginia Roberts, told the Herald that Epstein and his assistants personally groomed her to have sex with Epstein and other men, and that she was trafficked to Epstein’s private island, called “Little Saint James,” where she was “lent out” to “politicians, academics, and royalty.” In January 2015, she stated in court that Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz and Prince Andrew, claims that both men deny. Her case was settled out-of-court.
Brown also laid out in stark detail how former U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now Trump’s Secretary of Labor, let Epstein walk away with an extraordinarily lenient plea deal that allowed him to serve only 13 months in jail and gave him time to hang out in a cushy Palm Beach office on work-release. Portions of the deal were so kind to Epstein that the legal terms quite literally violated federal law. The deal stood anyway.
But Epstein also had a habit for hanging out with famous people — including celebrity models and chefs, as well as accused (and in some cases, convicted) sex-criminals. Epstein was friends with Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Woody Allen, for example. Trump, a man who is himself accused of assaulting tons of women and has bragged about doing so on tape, has also boasted about hanging out with Epstein. Trump was sued in 2016 by a woman who claims the President and Epstein raped her when she was age 13, though she later dropped her suit.
But, according to flight logs published years ago by the now-defunct website Gawker (RIP), one of the most frequent celebrities on the Lolita Express was Clinton himself. While no direct evidence has tied Clinton to Epstein’s sex crimes, the Clintons have also never really explained why they were so close to Epstein or what Bill was doing on all those jet rides. According to records Gawker obtained, Clinton took rides on Epstein’s plane alongside a softcore-porn actress whom Epstein stated in flight logs was there for “massages.” Epstein also reportedly had 21 different contact numbers and email addresses for Bill Clinton. In all, the former president reportedly flew on Epstein’s plane 26 times and on multiple occasions declined to have the Secret Service accompany him onboard.
“It’s called ‘Lolita Express’ for a reason,” Roberts, one of the alleged victims, told the Herald on-video. “That was a vessel for him to abuse girls and get away with it without anybody being alarmed or alarm bells going off.”
Of course, there would be an absolute media firestorm if Shalala or Clinton canceled the fundraising event after the Herald series, and many critics would take it as a sign from Clinton that he did indeed do something wrong while hanging out with Epstein. Clinton’s popularity has taken a nosedive over the last few years, thanks in part to the #MeToo movement pushing Americans to take Clinton’s many sexual-assault (and other consent-related) scandals more seriously. (Likewise, many of his other statements and actions, including his support for the War on Drugs and other policies that harshly impacted black Americans, look pretty bad in hindsight.) Shalala has still stood by Clinton through it all — no matter how bad the ex-president’s reputation looks.